- Structural changes to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services will enhance focus on emergency risk management
- Department shifting to greater integration of prevention, preparation, response and recovery functions
- Office of Emergency Management to move from sub-department to part of new command structure within DFES
As part of the review of government services, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) will benefit from the integration of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) into a new command structure.
OEM's integration from a sub-department that operated as a satellite agency, into the structure of DFES will help the department improve its focus across all hazards and strengthen its prevention, preparedness, response and recovery functions.
The DFES restructure will also reduce senior executive positions from 12 to nine, bringing savings that will benefit emergency service volunteers, improve regional operations and boost mitigation activities.
OEM will continue to provide administrative, policy advice and technical support to the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC).
The integration with the department also relieves OEM of the administrative burden of separate appropriation and annual reporting.
It also removes the complication of a sub-department conducting assurance on the department to whom it reports.
The Office of the Auditor General will now evaluate the performance and compliance aspects of the Emergency Management Act 2005, and report on the degree to which agencies with assigned roles and responsibilities in State Emergency Management Policy and Plans are fulfilling their legislative obligations.
SEMC will continue to lead the preparation of the State's Emergency Preparedness Report.
The elevation of OEM into a DFES command structure and the separation of the whole-of-government emergency management assurance function now correctly addresses the recommendation of the Ferguson Report, regarding the independence of the State Emergency Management Committee Secretariat and the Office of Bushfire Risk Management.
Further structure changes, including a rural fire service, will be announced in due course.
The development of a rural fire service is well advanced and will be delivered after the current bushfire season to ensure it can be implemented without affecting current operations.
Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan:
"The Department of Fire and Emergency Services is expanding its focus on prevention, preparation, response and recovery functions under the command of the new Commissioner Darren Klemm.
"Commissioner Klemm is restructuring DFES, which is still a relatively new department, into an organisation that will more fully integrate the many aspects of fire and emergency management services.
"This restructure will bring efficiencies and save money, and it means that the many aspects of emergency risk management are brought together under one roof.
"The Office of Emergency Management has been in a complicated environment where it was set up as a sub-department, but operated as a satellite agency, which also oversaw aspects of the department it was part of.
"This move means the functions of OEM now become an integral part of the department which is where the State needs to be heading.
"We need to increase the focus on preparedness and mitigation and make them integral parts of the department rather than auxiliary functions."
Minister's office - 6552 6300